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09.10.2017

The Azerbaijan Carpet Museum

The Azerbaijan Carpet Museum

The Azerbaijan Carpet Museum was created under the Decree No. 130 dated March 13, 1967 of the Council of Ministers of the Azerbaijan SSR. From 1967 to 1993, the museum was called the Azerbaijan State Museum of Carpet and Folk Applied Arts, from 1993 to 2014 - State Museum of Carpet and Applied Arts named after Latif Karimov, from 2014 to the present time the Azerbaijan Carpet Museum. 

At the time of establishing, it was the only museum that was dedicated to the art of carpet weaving. The main purpose of the creation of the museum was to store, research, and demonstrate unique examples of the carpet weaving art, which are the Azerbaijan’s national heritage. The initiator of the museum was Latif Karimov – an outstanding scientist and carpet weaver, the founder of the science of Azerbaijan Carpet Weaving Art, artist and teacher, author of the fundamental work Azerbaijani carpet.

The first exposition was presented on April 26, 1972 in the building of the Juma Mosque, an architectural monument of the 19th century, located in the Icherisheher – Old City. The national leader of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev, who provided a great support to the museum from first days of the establishment, took part at the opening ceremony. In 1970-1980s with the constant help of the country's leadership in the person of Heydar Aliyev Museum had regular opportunities to purchase crafts and thereby replenish the collections of the museum. In those years for the museum were purchased masterpieces of Azerbaijani Carpet Weaving Art.

In 1992, Azerbaijan Carpet Museum was moved to the Museum Center (former Lenin Museum), located at the Neftchilar Avenue. In 1991, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, according to the presidential decree, the building was given to the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Azerbaijan and renamed to Museum Center. The exhibition of the museum, representing the carpet samples from different regions of Azerbaijan, as well as works of other kinds of applied arts, was located in thirteen spacious rooms of the second floor.

In 2007, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, signed a decree for the creation of a new building for the museum in the territory of Seaside National Park, within the framework of a joint project of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and UNESCO. In 2014, under the direction of Austrian architect Franz Janz, the museum building, which meets the all modern requirements, was completed. Over the years, the museum is continuously developed and has become one of the main storage of samples of the Azerbaijan national culture.

The museum has become a research-training and cultural-educational center where many events, such as exhibitions, international symposiums, and conferences, are held. During its 50 years of existence, the museum has organized more than 30 exhibitions in different countries throughout the world. In 1983, on the initiative of Heydar Aliyev and the organizational support of UNESCO, in the Azerbaijan Carpet Museum was held an international symposium entitled Art of Oriental carpet weaving. Later, international symposiums such as Azerbaijan Carpet Weaving Art (1988) and Azerbaijan Carpet and Applied Art (2003) were held with the close participation of the Azerbaijan Carpet Museum. Additionally, in 2007 the Azerbaijan Carpet Museum participated in an international symposium entitled Azerbaijan Carpet Weaving Art dedicated to Latif Karimov’s 100th anniversary, which took place at UNESCO’s Headquarters, in Paris. The museum cooperates closely with influential international organizations, such as the European Textile Network (ETN), the European Museum Forum (EMF), the International Council of Museums (ICOM), UNESCO, and the Intergovernmental Foundation for Educational, Scientific and Cultural Cooperation (IFESCCO).

In 2004, a law on the Preservation and Development of Azerbaijan Carpet was enacted with the museum’s participation. The law aimed to implement the registration of Azerbaijan carpets, protect and support their development, and coordinate scientific and methodical training. In 2010, the Azerbaijan Carpet Weaving Art was included in UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity through the assistance of Mehriban Aliyeva, First Lady of Azerbaijan, the President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, member of Milli Majlis (National Parliament of the Republic of Azerbaijan), and Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO and ISESCO.

Today, the Azerbaijan Carpet Museum, which is located in one of the country’s most modern buildings, not only stores a rich collection of artifacts and carpets (our nation’s most valuable heritage), but also operates as the site for the comprehensive research of traditional carpet weaving art and its popularization within world culture.